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In-person seminar with Dr. Thomas Longden


Join the Department of Physiology Thursday, April 21, as we host Thomas Longden, PhD, for an in-person seminar. The guest of Dr. Jon Jaggar, Dr. Longden is a distinguished researcher and serves as an assistant professor of physiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. In this seminar, he will present on his current research into pericyte energy switches and the subsequent impact on brain blood flow. Refreshments will be provided. Read below for the abstract, an optional Zoom link, time and location.

ABSTRACT: Capillary ‘thin-strand’ pericytes and their processes cover ~90% of the total length of the brains capillary bed. Despite their abundance, little is known of the physiology of deep capillary pericytes, and their contributions to the control of brain hemodynamics remain unclear. I will show evidence we have gathered that thin strand pericytes possess a mechanistic ‘energy switch’ that, when activated by a decrease in glucose, elicits robust KATP channel activation to increase blood flow and protect energy substrate availability. Our data demonstrate that pharmacological activation of KATP channels profoundly hyperpolarizes capillary pericytes and leads to dilation of upstream penetrating arterioles and arteriole-proximate capillaries covered with contractile pericytes, leading to an increase in local capillary blood flow. Stimulation of a single capillary pericyte with a KATP channel agonist is sufficient to evoke this response, which is mediated via KIR channel-dependent retrograde propagation of hyperpolarizing electrical signals. Together, these findings recast capillary pericytes as metabolic sentinels that respond to local energy deficits by robustly increasing blood flow to protect metabolic substrate delivery to neurons and prevent energetic shortfalls.

DATE & TIME: April 21, 2022 at 3:30 p.m. CT

LOCATION: Cancer research building, room 114

For those who wish to join by Zoom, please use this link:


Meeting ID: 937 9257 7931
Passcode: 849239